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first tethered photo shoot


Oh, it’s wonderful…  I finally have my real computer back.  I have the software all set up to work with my new camera, so I was very inspired to have a photo shoot this morning.  When I got my camera a few days ago, I was so excited about taking pictures, but I was editing them on a super cheap laptop and I really missed my bright & big laptop screen.  I felt like I couldn’t really see the sharpness of the pictures to edit them well.  And the workflow was ridiculous.  Lightroom 3, which I’ve been using for a few years, couldn’t open my RAW Nikon D800 photos, so I had to use a DNG converter.  So, the workflow was something like – copy pictures from camera to computer, convert in DNG converter to a DNG file, upload to Lightroom 3 and edit, export to Windows Live Photo Gallery to resize to upload, save it to a thumb drive and move it to another computer (the little laptop wouldn’t upload files for some reason) and upload the files.  It was a royal pain, so it’s such a treat to just put the pictures in one program, get everything done and put them on my blog.

Now that I was free from the 52 step workflow, I was anxious to snap away.  I just started shooting tethered (connected to the computer) a few weeks ago with my D7000 and was really enjoying it.  It’ totally changes things when you can do the editing as you shoot.  When you see a photograph on a little 3″ screen, it’s hard to tell if the focus is right or if you like the composition or if the tiniest bit of the tripod leg is hanging into your shot.  When you see it on the screen, you can analyze and make those adjustments on the spot.  Now that I had the updated version of Lightroom, I was able to link it directly to my new D800.  I’m pretty sure an angelic choir stopped everything they were doing and gave me a quick, triumphant C chord.  It was magical.

I didn’t have anything specific to photograph, so I just worked with some random things that looked pretty.  I was shooting with the d800, of course, and my new 50mm f1.4 lens.  Here’s the result…

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So fun, right?

Now, yes, the upgraded equipment makes a big difference, but shooting with the camera tethered, on a tripod and really taking my time made a huge difference, too.  Those are all things you can do with any DSLR camera that won’t set you back a bundle.  So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t have the fancy gear.  Remember that I just bought it and have been doing freelance shoots and even my entire book with a refurbished Nikon d50 and in more recent years, a Nikon d7000.

While I had the camera all set up and I was inspired, I decided to shoot two of my milk paint colors…

Dried Lavender


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…and Eulalie’s Sky.

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Yes.  I smeared paint all over marble.  Nobody panic.   It did wash off.

Today is only a few hours old and I feel like it’s a real turning point for me.  I’m past the technical troubles (hopefully.)  I’m getting my house really cleaned out and organized, which makes me feel like I can breath and relax more.  With each trip to the thrift store and each bag of trash that exits the house, I feel like I’m making more room to create.  I also recently had an epiphany about my workload and have a fresh perspective on my blog and brand.  AND I’m finally feeling like I’m slimmer and more muscular.  I’ve lost 22 lbs and I’ve noticed it in my clothing over the past few months, but it’s been in the last week that I have noticed the definition of my triceps (I was flexing for my husband yesterday) and the strength of my legs as I climb the basement steps.  I walked by a full-length mirror a couple of days ago and had to do a double-take.  Was that really me?  I’ve even noticed how full my face looks in my profile pictures compared to now.  I really need to get new pictures done!

Maybe it is all of those things I just mentioned.  Maybe it’s the change of seasons, the freshness in the air that hints of fall and the orchards that surround my little town that are weighed down with apples so fragrant they waft through the air.  Maybe it’s a combination of everything, but I just feel like things are really good and they are about to get even better.

Have a great weekend.


 Disclosure.  This post contains affiliate links.

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  1. Loved the paint pics and your fresh, new outlook that fall has brought you!
    Missing fall as we don’t really get one her in AZ. Thank you for your inspiration!!!!

  2. JulieD says:

    Congratulations on the weight loss. That’s such a great feeling, isn’t it?

    I’ve been wondering about the Dried Lavender color. It looks a bit transparent and I wish I could nail down what it really looks like. Maybe if we painted over something white as well as two different types of wood- we could get a better idea of how that color is going to handle itself. In this photo, it almost looks like the same color as Eulalie’s Sky! Just trying to wrap my mind around it. :)

  3. Marian, this post is so INSPIRATIONAL!

    I absolutely love your photography (and always have, even with your old camera) – these photos are so simple and stunning. You have inspired me to do some photoshoots of my own this weekend :)

    And so happy for you that you have reached a point of clarity with your blog and brand, and can’t wait to hear more about what you have in store for MMS.

    Congratulations on the health accomplishments. That must feel so good! I just got engaged, so now I’m pumped to get in the best shape of my life.

    Great post! Have a wonderful weekend :)

  4. Deborah Hammond says:

    So funny…you had a Freudian Slip in the first paragraph (last sentence) of your blog post. You said “royal PAINT” when I think you meant to say “royal pain.” I am sure you have paint on your mind almost 24/7. LOL

  5. Oh how I long for new (to me) camera equipment! I used to spend every weekend (before husband & kids) on photo safaris, hiking, climbing and camping wherever my heart and inspiration led. I truly miss that part of myself. I’m hoping and praying (not quite to the working stage yet) for the means to be able to refocus and get back to my first love, and hence, a little more of myself back.

    Love what you’ve been doing… we never stop learning and growing, right?

  6. Kristen says:

    I’m glad things are going well for you. I reread your book yesterday. We have had some trials this year that were really getting me down. I found comfort in your words and of course the beautiful pictures help too.

  7. Anne Boykin says:

    Dear MMS, Congrats on your weight loss – you are beautiful inside & out! Fall is always a wonderful time of year and I’m glad you’re excited for the future. Hugs, Anne Boykin

  8. Amanda says:

    I’m new to your blog and look forward to reading your posts. You inspire me to create and enjoy life. Congrats on the new healthy body and keep posting those beautiful pics!

  9. Hi Marian! I have that lens and it is awesome to fool with. I have yet to try tethered shooting. I’ve had shoots here at the house where the photographers shoot tethered and it is very cool.
    Thanks for your blog.
    Kristin Nicholas

  10. Great pictures, Marian!
    I don’t know much about photography (my husband photographs products for my Etsy shop), but I am familiar with tethered shooting. He does that most of the time.
    Here is to the new season and new outlook on life!

  11. it all began with paint says:

    Hi, Marian. I have been so in love with your blog for quite some time. My sister got me your book for my birthday! I sat down with a cup of coffee to read it and did a double take at th paragraph “some girls get giddy over a new pair of shoes, but I…” I had previously thought I was queer for being so giddy over arranging a room, decorating, and all things paint. My sister and I make signs to sell- she wood burns, I paint. We have a Facebook page, but I am afraid to blog. Not the blogging part, but the photography. I love to paint, but anything to do with even the simplest camera bogs me down. And its the beautiful pictures that make a beautiful blog. -a little discouraged :/

    • Debbie says:

      I would so love to see the signs you and your sister make…. May I please have the FB site ?? Keep positive and you will be fine! Hugs and blessings! Debbie

      • it all began with paint says:

        Facebook/pages/itallbeganwithpaint. .we r both stay at home moms who discovered something we loved to do while our children are napping, and then it is slowly growing from that. :)

  12. What a beautiful post – you look like you’re having so much fun with your new toy, and the results are gorgeous! Happy to hear that the emotional/mental weight you have felt yourself under is lifting – seems like you’re mind has cleared a bit and things are a bit lighter – good for you!!!. Enjoy that Pennsylvania autumn – I miss it so much!

  13. Celeste says:

    HI Marian, I live in Hawaii and I’ve only been following for 2months but have been greatly encouraged while awaiting your book in the mail. It also took awhile to order sample paints online and not pay blood for the shipping. They arrived Tuesday and I’m hoping to start dabbling today. The main reason for writing is next month I’m coming east to see family in NJ and PA. I would LOVE to take a few workshops while there yet have not had any luck from the website locating one for October. In the near future I’d like to be a retailer but without a store front as of yet am unable to do further research. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. :-)

  14. Stacie says:

    Your post made me smile. I’m glad you are seeing the fruits of your labour, it is always a big motivation going forward.

  15. Tavia says:

    Love it all Marian!! It is such a pleasure to stop by and read your blog!!

  16. Congrats on the new, healthy, you!!

    What was the name of the weight loss program you’re on? I know it hasn’t been that long and your results are just awesome!! My daughter is having a difficult time toning and loosing her baby weight … I thought I’d share your results!!

    Don’t you just love spring and fall cleaning….


  17. I am so happy for you!!

    You have your new tethered camera, your computer working again (that must have been so aggravating), a stronger body, more quiet time with kids in school? and now what sounds like an organized home! And think of all the women you have inspired along the way!!

    Enjoy that great feeling. You have worked hard!

  18. Your pictures look amazing Marian. It’s so great seeing your excitement with your new camera. Loving that pretty Lavender paint color .Congrats on getting healthy and fit and getting organized.

  19. There’s something about a change of season that can put you in a fantastic new and give you new found energy to complete tasks and look at things in a different light. :)
    Good for you on the weight loss, continue living a healthy lifestyle and be proud of yourself!

  20. You can certainly tell a difference in the pictures! Not that they weren’t great before, but the quality is just stepped up a notch. So beautiful, Marian! I have never tried tethering, but I really want to now! I do all of my editing in Photoshop though, Camera Raw pretty much and then sometimes I’ll touch something up in photoshop. So I’m not sure if that’s possible.

    Thanks for inspiring me to grow my own photography skills!

  21. I am a new follower of your site and very excited about the progress you have made in three short years. I in in desperate need of a decent camera for my blog as I realise there is so much more post opportunities if I can take wonderful photos. I love your photos above and the clever way you styled the milk paint.

    I am just starting to be approached by companies to work with them and very excited, especially reading your own story and where it has led you.


  22. Debbie says:

    Marian, this is a truly inspiring blog entry. I am ever so happy for all of the positives you are experiencing; sounds like you have literally been on a “cleansing” path and I am thrilled for you! Keep up the great work as I LOVE reading your blog! Hugs and God bless.

  23. maureen says:

    Marian…what a wonderful blog entry to start off the day! I too love this time of year at the NJ Shore, not too far from PA. The change in weather and brisk morning air is uplifting. It is so good to hear all the positives you are experiencing…as you “lighten up” your body and your home and your surroundings…your attitude and spirit is being lightened and brightened too. Thanks for always being so inspiring…I’ve started my lightening up too and feel great. Keep up the good work!

  24. What a happy post! I love the camera stuff, but it really makes me smile to read how encouraged you are about life in general. :)

  25. so happy you are seeing the fruits of your labors!

  26. Lorretta from Nh says:

    So happy to hearthe contentment oozing around in life. Such a great thing to post about!!

  27. Kathryn says:

    and that, my dear is what’s called….wonder-ful!

  28. Karen says:

    Hello MMS! You did awesome buying the new camera! Now, if ONLY I would learn my little nothing of a camera! But you inspire me to get out the book!

  29. Nancy Blunck says:

    You have been my inspiration to take my first steps towards my own business. I only hope to be half as talented as you. I am so happy that you have found renewed inspiration. You also make me want o go bye a new (used) camera. I would welcome you suggestions if you would like to take a look at my Facebook page Blooming Chaology.

  30. Now these pics are just fab!!!! Great Job!

  31. Oh my – that workflow must have been terrible for you! And yet you still posted. I am reminded that I need to shoot and post much more than I do. Who knew that you could get excited taking pics of blueberries and eggs?? I am raiding my refrigerator this morning!

    I have to look in to tethering. I only have a baby DSLR – Nikon 3100. I am happy to have it…but I won’t be getting an upgrade until I really learn how to use the one I have. Per your advice awhile back, I re-read The Pioneer Woman’s posts on Aperture etc. There’s so much great information out there – including your helpful posts on photography – that I don’t have a really good excuse to improve my photo skills. I have come a long way since reading your posts and finally getting a grown up camera! Need to go a few steps further now!

    Oh darn – no blueberries left – I guess grapes and eggs will have to do!!



    PS – and this is a big PS…I finally picked up an Empire dresser! They are so hard to find on Long Island and even New York City…even further upstate. Found one on Craigslist in Park Slope, Brooklyn (a nearly 2 hour drive for me) for $95. A near miracle! Now I just have to decide on a finish and color!

  32. I’m so proud of you and your transformation! Keep up the good work!

  33. MARY EGUIA says:

    beautiful. you’re amazing!

  34. Susan Sweeney says:

    Marian, I was wondering if you have more pictures of furniture you’ve painted with Dried Lavender? I saw your initial post when you introduced the color, and the dresser you photographed. Since then, I’ve googled “Miss Mustard Seed Dried Lavender” and the only other post I can find of furniture painted in that color didn’t look anything like the color on your dresser. I really was wanting something a little more ash/gray with just a touch of lavender. The dresser on the other post looked VERY purple. How would you describe it? And did you do something to the dresser you painted to tone down the purple?

    By the way, I used milk paint for the first time on an old dresser. Painted it with Eulalie’s Sky. Absolutely love it! Can’t wait to try it on something else.


  35. How exciting! I’ve never shot tethered, but I do know the pain of newer camera gear and old editing 52 step process! I just got a new computer, and for nearly a year, and had a heck of a process that I want to block from my memory!!

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